Shopping for little ones can be overwhelming and time consuming, and it can be difficult to find quality, affordable items that have also been sustainably produced. At Sage & Elm, their focus is to source eco-conscious and ethically manufactured baby and children’s products that are stylish and will stand the test of time. Husband and wife co-founders, Ray & Nicole, have made it their mission to provide parents with affordable, beautiful and quality hats, shoes and accessories for their babies and children. Their collections are carefully created from Australian and overseas brands that match the Sage & Elm ethos – Timeless, Classic, Earthy – and all of their products have been tried and tested on their own children and are products that they love.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
We have always had a desire to create something ourselves. It wasn’t until we fell surprisingly pregnant with our twin girls though that we really decided now was the time. When we were pregnant with the twins, we spent a lot of time shopping! Our youngest before them was 10 years old, so basically, it was like starting all over again. We had to get ALL the baby stuff. While shopping, we found it difficult to find just what we wanted, especially in the stores where we live. We didn’t want the usual “pink or blue” gender-specific stuff. We also became aware of where items were coming from, how they were being made and what they were being made from. And we really weren’t keen on a lot of the choices. So, when faced with the decision of heading back to work and needing to find double the childcare fee or staying home and creating our dream, we decided to just go for it.
We had talked A LOT over the years of wanting to create and own our own business, but there was never “the right time”. This time, we just made it the right time. We knew straight away and 100% agreed on what sort of products we wanted to offer. We wanted to source and offer products that were made from as sustainable and eco-friendly materials as possible, and we wanted to make sure that from the very beginning to the end – from the growing of the products right up to manufacture and distribution – they were ethically produced. No sweatshops, no underpaid farming practices, etc. We wanted to create a space where parents looking for and wanting the same could come and buy from without having to do all the research themselves – a place they could trust cared just as much about their children and what they were wearing, sleeping on and playing with as if they were our own.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Quickly! Haha. From deciding to just go for broke and start our business to our actual launch day, it was only a few months! To be honest, we really still are in the beginnings… we are still such a baby company. We still have so much to learn and so much to do, but that’s business, ever changing, ever evolving. We are still working around naps times, putting in long hours after all the kids are in bed and having “business meetings” with each other in the car as we drive to kids’ sports or to get groceries. We’ve taken over half the playroom, converting it into our home office/stock storage and packing area. We have plans and dreams and goals of where we would like to end up one day, but for the moment, this is us.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Discovering the small business community – especially the women-led, mum businesses. There is so much support, encouragement and empowerment to be found when teaming up with other small business owners who also have big goals and dreams. The knowledge and skills that are so willingly shared is amazing.